This summer, get more than just yourself ready for the beach. Get your business in shape. Like workouts, meetings suck, but both are necessary to achieve results.

I use the SLED (Suck Less Every Day) philosophy for both exercising and holding meetings. Day-by-day, meeting-by-meeting, it all starts to get better and better as time passes. And soon enough, you will reach a plateau where everything seems to be working right. Employees are punctual, engaged and working as a team to generate results. You’re improving productivity.

Whip your meetings into shape (and make them SLED) with these six helpful tips:

1. Establish a clear objective. Don’t waste valuable time at the start of each meeting to brief employees on its purpose. Distribute an agenda beforehand so attendees go into the meeting prepared with ideas and/or questions. This is the ultimate meeting timesaver. Be brave, institute a ‘no agenda, no attenda’ rule. This is everyone’s ticket out and forces agenda creation.

2. Only invite those who need to be there. Limit attendance to team members whose participation will help produce results. It’s easy, and sometimes habitual, to invite everyone in the office to a meeting, but that is usually an inefficient use of some people’s time. At a minimum, give those their freedom, as they are no longer needed.

3. Make every meeting a stand-up meeting. Standing meetings are exactly what they sound like: All attendees are required to stand throughout the duration. This not only saves time and allows employees to get back to work sooner, but it also boosts attentiveness and engagement among attendees. Standing is not comfortable and creates “speed” to finish.

4. Start on time and end on time — every time. This goes along with the first tip. Don’t go outside the boundaries you have set. Close the conference doors when the meeting is scheduled to begin and finish at the promised end time. If you’re the meeting leader, act on these so you set an example for your team. Intolerance for tardiness will set a standard for meetings going forward.

5. Ban electronics. I have said this before; in fact, I have written an entire column on it: Electronic pacifiers are my biggest pet peeve, especially in meetings. Mobile devices are a distraction, threatening productivity. When you unplug, you are present and focused on the matters at hand. Pass around a bucket and have everyone put theirs in it or stack them up in a central location.

6. Who, what, when. The conclusion of each meeting ignites the start of taking action. Always use a “who is going to do what by when” recorder (you can download one at

There is no better time to start than now. Begin incorporating these guidelines into your next meeting and by the end of summer, your meetings will be ripped.

This story was originally published in The Tennessean.